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Black Student Union

Florida State University

The original Black Student Union (BSU) building was over 50 years old, and as an old retrofitted wooden house, was well past the point of repair. FSU had no funds to construct a new facility. As minor services architect, GRC was contacted. It was decided a Marketing Package should be developed to raise funds for a badly needed new facility. We met with the BSU and developed a set of parameters for the new facility.


Our goals were as follows:

1. Provide a sense of permanence

2. Capture a sense of the past, present and future

3. Design a building that is welcoming, accessible and comfortable

4. Through design, reflect the ethnic, cultural and social values of the users


The design gave a new face to the BSU. The net result was a solution that exceeded the hopes of the organization. The building was designed and constructed in less than a year. The new Black Student Union is a two-story building designed to be a “home away from home” for minority students at FSU.


The exterior look of the building is similar to a large 2-story house, welcoming to the students. The front lounge is clad in a glass curtain wall which is transparent to patrons and presents a unique look. The exterior materials are brick and synthetic stucco which are low maintenance, yet appealing. The red brick is similar to the campus standards. The roof is a sloped, standing seam metal system which is low maintenance and aesthetically appealing.


The building is organized around a courtyard which allows overflow spaces for special events.


The ground floor consists of public functions. The main entry is directly off the Entry Display Hall which will consist of exhibits celebrating the BSU organization and black culture at FSU. Towards the street and adjacent to the Display Hall is the Lounge which will be a hang-out space for the students. In the other direction away from the street is another hall which leads to the Restrooms, Kitchen and the Multipurpose Room. The Multipurpose Room will host multiple functions including classroom teaching, dinners and general meeting functions.

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